Saturday, September 22, 2007

If helicopters are so safe, how come there are no vintage / classic helicopter fly-ins?

Perhaps it is a good thing that I read this quote AFTER my first helicopter ride ever!

Today, Dad and I took a 15-20 minute helicopter ride over the city of St. Louis, and boy, it was great. I've flown in planes many, many times; however, I've always wanted to ride in a helicopter. Today we had that chance.

Here are some photos I took from the air: (I won't include them all, I took over 100.)

Missouri Botanical Garden (lop-sided view)

St. Louis Art Museum (Forest Park)

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Roof of Union Station

Hyatt Hotel at Union Station

City Museum

Downtown from the West

Down the Mississippi

Up the Mississippi

If you look close, you'll see a boat on its side...this is here from the Great Flood of 1993. I just thought it was a pretty cool shot.

Our Ride (the blades really are turning)

Right Down the Middle

6-3 for the Astros

It was a good game once it got moving... There were several good plays, and it was a nice night at the stadium. In the bottom of the 7th though, the Cardinals blew their one good chance of saving it. So they lost 6-3. But it was fun anyway!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Take me out to the ball game...

Dad's flight arrives in a little over two hours, then I am sure we'll head out for a VERY good steak dinner, then on to the ball game to hopefully see the Cardinals whip the Astros. However, since I am from Texas, I won't be heartbroken if it falls the other way. Either way, we have great seats just behind the home team dugout, good weather and a father-son evening, so what more could be asked for? Perhaps a hot dog!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Encourage Him - Deuteronomy 1:37-38

"Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it."

Moses, the man of God, a great leader of Israel was kept out of the promised land because he failed to obey the voice of God. When commanded to speak to the rock (a portrait of Christ), Moses instead angrily struck the rock twice, and for that disobedience was not allowed to enter Canaan.

Most individuals would be angry with the Lord, would attempt to justify themselves, discontinue their service to God if God did not reconsider and capitulate. Moses did beg the Lord to reconsider, but the Lord firmly responded that He would not change His mind. So, Moses bowed in submission and was allowed to view the promised land just before his death from Mt. Pisgah. This beautiful sight has been recorded in some of our hymns:

Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer
May I thy consolation share,
Till, from Mount Pisgah's lofty height,
I view my home, and take my flight:
This robe of flesh I'll drop, and rise
To seize the everlasting prize;
And shout, while passing through the air,
Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!

Not only did the Lord tell Moses he would not enter Canaan, but He proceeded to inform him that Joshua would. Then the Lord commands Moses to encourage Joshua, to strengthen him so he could cause Israel to inherit the land.

What a challenge, what a charge, and what character of Moses that required. Not only was he being kept from the promise, but was commanded to give strength to the one who would lead this people. Moses is charged to help his successor, and do so with grace. What humility. What a lovely picture.

We see it again in the scriptures when David was not allowed to build the temple, but told that his son Solomon would. David's response was to provide financially for the cause instead of complaining that he would not build the Lord's house.

Too often we focus on our own desires in the kingdom of God, instead of realizing the greater importance is the glory of the Lord, and causing Israel to inherit the blessing. Whether it is Moses or Joshua, David or Solomon it really doesn't matter. The true mark of our character is when we hear the Lord say no, and humbly encourage our successors in the work of the Lord.

Sometimes we'd rather (in our flesh) be a discouragement because of our own conceit, yet what better testimony to our service to God than to have it said we encouraged the saints after us.

In a very discouraging world, this simple message of God to Moses, "encourage him," is greatly needed. It should be our chief desire to encourage, strengthen or edify the brethren. In so doing we show our true humility and love for them, and thus our love for God.

May we be encouraging to one another.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

It Is Finished

Not redemption, though that is finished too. No, I mean the dental work. Today was my last visit to the dentist for six months! Today he installed the bridge which completed three months worth of extractions, root canals, fillings, stitches, gauze, salt water rinses, learning to eat different ways each week, etc... No more shots, laughing gas, tugging, pulling, drilling or grinding. Now the only grinding is the nice new grinders that he installed. Too bad Solomon didn't have them when he said the "grinders cease because they are few." My grinders are in good order!

Although I do have to say that I'll miss the weekly and bi-weekly visits (I know, I am abnormal) to see Dr. Stapleton, his nurse Terri, and also Lisa and Linda. They've been great. However, Terri did ask about our services today and spoke as if she might drop in for worship at Little Flock! I hope she does.

So, folks, all the dental posts are finished likewise, now I'll have to find something new and exciting to write about. Perhaps I'll get back to the Bible again!

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Visit from Dad

I am very excited, my Dad called today to let me know he's coming in two weeks to spend a weekend with me. He'll fly in on Friday morning and be here through Sunday afternoon. I haven't seen my Dad since Christmas, and this is his first visit to St Louis since I've been here, 4 years next month.

We've got the weekend halfway planned, on Friday & possibly Saturday night we'll take in a Cards vs Astros game. We've got great tickets for the Friday night game, right on the first base line just a few rows behind the dugout! When I was a kid I often went to games in Arlington with my Dad and siblings to see the Rangers play. I enjoy a good ballgame, especially with Dad.

I'm sure we'll take in some other sights, good food (he loves steaks, like me) and some good movies (like me he like tv and theaters).

Here is a photo of my Dad, and my niece, Katelynn, taken at Christmas '06. Katelynn was very excited showing off the wad of $20's my Dad had given her for her gift.

So far, this has been a good year for family visits. My Grandma was here a couple weeks ago and spent 3 days with me, Dad is coming in two weeks, then my Mom, Grandma and Great-Grandma are coming for Thanksgiving and spending about 5 days. It sure makes it easier being away from Texas when a little Texas comes here to Illinois!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Have a Heart

Recently, due to new dental bills and the new blessing of a car, I realized that it was time to find work to supplement my income as a pastor. So, I applied with Adecco, The Employment People! I've worked with them before, in San Antonio. They're a temp-to-hire company that I've enjoyed working for before.

I had two assignments this week, one with GE Supra, the real estate division of GE, the second with Philips Medical.

My duties for Philips were extremely interesting. I was a model (I know, laugh hard there) for doctors, nurses and technicians. For what you may ask? Well, they were testing new software for their echocardiogram machines. IOW's, they were doing ultrasounds of my heart.

The real interesting part, the new software allows you to see the ultrasound in 3D. This has been available for a while for expectant mothers, allowing them to see 3D images of their children before they're born. However, to get a picture of the heart, they need images of the interior, not just the exterior as with a baby. Well, they've accomplished this.

So, I was watching my heart in 3D on a 27 inch flat screen panel, and it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen!

Here is the traditional 2D image of a heart, which they did also and was interesting too. But the 3D is this image, in color of the entire heart. They could see it from any angle from the exterior, then could take any portion of the exterior away and look at the interior of the heart. So I saw the blood flow, valves, etc... of my heart from the inside! IT WAS COOL!

Watching the show, I could imagine how helpful this technology will be for medical teams to hopefully see a problem without having first to explore with a camera and other invasive methods. Obviously, seeing the problem is only one part, they still have to do something about it. However, I got a clean bill of health, stating that my heart looks to be in excellent shape.

I am constantly amazed at the inventions of men, but above all thankful to God for giving man the ability to do these things. I just wish that all men everywhere would give Him the thanks He deserves for these and other blessings.